Category Archives: Project Visions

Project Visions: iGoverness – Part 4: Back to Basics

Part 4 of our feature on improving our education system using modern technology and the iGoverness idea comes straight from Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. If you have not read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 yet, please go back and read them so that you know the motivations for the following article.

When originally envisioning this vast project, I had the idea that I wanted to use my son as the first student for this process. He will still be going to school as a normal child would, but I would like to provide him an extra tutor for anything I can think of that he would need later in life. In effect, this would help me mature this project along with my son’s knowledge, thereby helping to flesh out the majority of the program as time goes on.

I began thinking about the timeline of the overall project, and when I would want to get started. As I was watching my 2 year old son sitting at my computer chair, engrossed in Sesame Street’s website, watching Big Bird asking him to click on the objects that start with the letter “B”, I realised that there is a lot of things we need to do before he could be able to truly navigate any interface, let alone a program that is going to help teach him for the rest of his life.

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Project Visions: Dimenxia

I took a little break from blogging yesterday, as I didn’t really have the writing spirit in me. We did not go to the movies this weekend, due to a friend’s wedding.

Today’s Project Visions post will be about a project that I have been working on and off for about 7 or 8 years. This project is named Dimenxia, and is part of the Overneath Project.

Dimenxia started out as some scribbles and sketches on a sheet of notebook paper during a particularly boring and uneventful day in high school. Though I had no idea what kind of life it would take on in subsequent years, I poured my brain into the story, which grew ever larger and epic with each passing day.

Originally, I had planned for Dimenxia to be told in an interactive format, such as a video game. I’ve become increasingly aware that creating a video game is not only a lot of work, but weaving a storyline sufficiently into the work is an even harder task. Therefore, I plan on completing the whole storyline in as detailed a way as possible, then seeing what future works can be had from the story.

The Overneath Project is a series of stories that share a “universe“. As it is now, there are three distinct stories, with enough planning and ideas to each be cast into novel form. These three storylines are: Dimenxia, The Good Doctor and Epoch.

As it stands now, the vast majority of the content is completed for Dimenxia, including an outline, 9 chapters (about 10,000 words) and a large amount of concept artwork. The Good Doctor at one time had about three chapters completed, but an ill-fated USB flash drive incident caused the loss of the whole work. Epoch exists only in short outline form as it stands, with a few mathematical algorithms, graphs and equations that dig deep into the happenings of the Overneath universe.

Recently I have been writing more and more for Dimenxia, and am hoping to get a nearly-finalized form completed by the end of this year. Whether that is a tall order or not remains to be seen. If I continue at the current pace, I will be able to have upwards of 80,000 words completed. I’m not completely sure if the entirety of the Dimenxia storyline as it stands would fit into an 80,000 word volume.

Without going into any detail about the specific storyline, I’d like to set the background for the first novel saying that it takes place in the near past, as well as the near future. No fancy flying cars or giant robots, but it does have a very sci-fi feel to it.

Dimenxia will take place in the 1990s-2010s, The Good Doctor in the 1970s, and Epoch will be in no specific time, but more along the lines of “all time”.

The stories center around a fictional town, Hawksgrove, WV. There we will see the majority of the action in the first two novels, and at least some part of the story in the third.

Why am I telling you all this, but still being cryptic? First, I don’t want to give away some of the amazing twists that will be happening. Second, at this point, all of my research and writing is scattered throughout various notebooks, binders, sketchbooks and digital formats. This notion is going to lead itself to a series of Software Spotlight articles, in which I will attempt to find a sufficient program or web-based set of applications to collect, organize and complete these works.

I want to say from the outset that the thing I fear most about writing these stories is that they will be seen as derivative materials. In no way am I trying to draw from works already published, but I feel like the ideas are being used elsewhere as plot devices. I fear that because the ideas are collected in such a way that some other work that is already out there will end up being viewed as the inspiration of these stories.

These stories are completely original, and have taken on a life of their own. I hate to be cliche about such things, but I truly feel as if these stories exist, and I’m just the chosen method for writing them down and bringing the attention of outsiders to them. That sounded way too ethereal for my intentions.

So, look forward to a series of articles based around the idea of finding a suitable platform for collecting thoughts, ideas, scanned documents and finished works.

Project Visions: Independence

While not a traditional “project”, the notion of financial independence is a goal that many people strive for.

Since high school, I’ve always known that I really dislike working for another person, and have always wanted to strike out on my own. Now, I don’t know if I really have the drive and nature that it takes to be an entrepreneur, I know that I at least have a few good ideas that could help me along in the trip.

Blogging
How do other people in the modern world achieve this goal? Well, there are quite a few people who write blogs with over 100,000 unique visitors a day, and are able to make a living from the ad revenue. I, on the other hand, have close to 20 hits a day, and make about $0.02 from ad revenue. I have no delusions that I’ll become some really successful blogger of my time, but every penny counts. OK, so strike that idea.

Writing
Next we have the notion that I could be a writer. While I have written over 10,000 words in one of my novels, I have neither the structure nor the drive to see this through. I really, really believe in the stories that my work conveys, but I am having a very hard time forcing myself to put the rubber to the road. This would be my most preferred method of independence, as I could do what I love and still bring home the money that my family needed to survive.

Most likely, another method would bring me to this goal, and writing would be what I would do in my spare time.

Freelancing
I have tried this in one form or another over the past few years, without any magnificent results. I am not disciplined enough at this point in my life to really be able to provide a worth while service to a paying customer. It pains me to say it, but that is the truth.

This stems back to my adoption of Getting Things Done. I have a system (now moved to GTDAgenda), and I use it every day, but I have not put my full attentions into it and find myself wandering around aimlessly sometimes.

I have also bought and paid for the materials (php|architect’s Zend PHP 5 Certification Study Guide)
for me to get my Zend PHP Certification. Though I have read through about half of the textbook, I am nowhere near ready to take the exam. I have set the goal for myself to take the exam by the end of 2008. I fully intend to stick to this goal.

The Startup Spirit
It seems as though the best option for me is to learn about business modeling and creation, and do something that would challenge my intellect. Drawing up a business plan is no small feat, and I need to learn all the ins and outs of venture capital.

This is another whole set of problems. What idea should I start with? What will I do in the next 6 months while I get all of the plans laid down? Well, I haven’t gone past the brainstorming phase at this point, and I will have to do some marketing research to see which idea is most financially viable.

So, basically, I need to get a job. These all might be pipe dreams of mine, but at least I have dreams. I need to work with some structure in order to build up my work-a-day skills.

Project Visions: Prospect County

I am going to go ahead today and introduce a new Project Vision, rather than continuing on with the iGoverness vision. I will come back to the iGoverness project, but at this point, I’m going to let it stagnate a bit more before I start writing again about it.

So, today we are going to look at a project that came to me while thinking of different video game types that I would be interested in playing.

Prospect County
Prospect County would be a Massively Multiplayer Online game. I know that the saturation in this market is beyond a level where a startup could get into the growing market, but I just want to put this idea out there. Continue reading

Project Visions: Gravity Randomization System

I had planned on releasing Part 4 of the iGoverness Project Visions series, but haven’t really been able to get myself into the writing mood this morning.

So, instead I’m going to introduce another series of Project Visions, this time about the Gravity Randomization System.

Gravity Randomization System (or GRS) is a system for randomization of playlists, based on universal physics concepts. Briefly, an object is assigned a mass according to different deciding factors, and the randomization is involved in the attraction of the acceleration of the gravity that mass creates. Continue reading

Project Visions: iGoverness – Part 3

Part 3 of our feature on improving our education system using modern technology and the iGoverness idea comes straight from Part 1 and Part 2. If you have not read Part 1 and Part 2 yet, please go back and read them so that you know the motivations for the following article.

The way I see it, there are a few major flaws with the way classes are handled in schools today:

  1. Classes go as fast as the slowest student. This alienates the faster student, and causes them to perform lower quality work.
  2. Classes are strict structures with defined times, schedules, deadlines and pre-scheduled exams.
  3. The 30 students to 1 teacher ratio does not ensure that our children’s needs are met.
  4. Class material is often taught “to the test” to get a passing score on a standardized exam, rather than teaching real-world problem solving skills and basic human functionality.
  5. A student is forced to learn the subjects that are set aside as required. A student has no leeway to learn the subject that he or she has the most desire to learn.
  6. The parents are increasingly being removed from the learning process.

Alright, so what does this mean in terms of solving these problems using technology? Continue reading

Project Visions: iGoverness – Part 2

Part 2 of our feature on improving our education system using modern technology and the iGoverness idea comes straight from Part 1. If you have not read Part 1 yet, please go back and read it so that you know the motivations for the following article.

Where the Modern Education System Fails
Surely, the modern education system and the standards that are followed have an immense value to living in the current conditions that the United States has to offer. But, as with all standardized systems, there are problems inherent to the way it works.

The first idea we are going to touch on consists of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) initiative. Now, this initiative is certainly admirable, but it tends to change the dynamic of the economic system as a tertiary cascading effect as much as it does the way we teach our children. Continue reading

Project Visions: iGoverness – Part 1

Hot on the heals of my new post initiative, Software Spotlight, I would like to introduce a new featured article segment that will be appearing for a few weeks while I flesh out some ideas that I have for some software products. Each and every one of these “Project Visions” has an origin story, some details fleshed out, and some commentary about how/if the project is possible. Please enjoy what I have to write, and if you feel so inclined, leave me feedback about the ideas for each.

iGoverness
So, just what, exactly is iGoverness? iGoverness is a project that I outlined about a year ago, which has received no further attention past the early brainstorming phase.

In order to understand what iGoverness is, why don’t we take a look at the definition of a governess:

A governess is a female employee of a family who teaches children within their home. In contrast to a nanny (formerly called a nurse) or a babysitter, she concentrates on teaching children, not their physical needs. Her charges are of school age, not babies. [source: Wikipedia]

So, iGoverness is a project aimed at bringing that personal one-to-one relationship of a governess to a pupil into the modern age, using modern technology. Continue reading